baseball

Ichiro walks off into history in 'sayonara' at Tokyo Dome

29 Comments
By STEPHEN WADE and TIM BOOTH

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29 Comments
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When you consider Ichiro's overall stats.... you could easily put him in the top 10 players ever. If I were to have my choice of picking the best players throughout history, Ichiro would be my lead off hitter without doubt. One of the best outfield defensive players ever and a rifle for an arm and could steal bases. Ichiro is a member of the to 10.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Sadly the end of an era. I will miss his lazarbeam throws. I almost cried myself watching him try to choke back the tears. On the other hand, he doesn't have to work he's making so much money from sponsorships and commercials

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The guy was all class, a symbol of what hard work can achieve.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

A once in a generation ball player. When him and Griffey Jr hugged it was a nostalgia overload of baseball from my youth. Otsukaresama deshita, Ichi!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

First ballot US Baseball Hall of Fame.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Legend!

There are few that rise to that level. Ichiro did.

It has been an awesome privilege to watch him play all of these years!

Thank you for the memories, Ichiro!!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

A class act and world class talent.

I’m not crying; my neighbor must be cutting onions.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Even if you are not into baseball you can see and understand the impact he had. Great guy. The hug with Kikuchi brought a tear to my eye.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Because of your many great achievements in the field of baseball...your cool fashion, your life style, and even to those who are not a baseball fan liked you. You are a Superstar in so many ways.  

You can rest assured that you will be known as “ICHRO, The Man of the Heisei Period”.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

.

He made Japan proud !

.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

papigiulioToday  08:50 am JST

“Even if you are not into baseball you can see and understand the impact he had.”

That is true. I’m no baseball fan, never watch games beyond the highlights shown on the news (and even then it’s often when I choose tobgo wash the dishes or something). But there I was watching the live stream of his press conference on my iPhone till 1:30 am this morning. It felt like such a historical moment and I couldn’t tear myself away. Probably the only other time I’ve gotten this emotional about baseball was when the Rakuten Eagles won the championship after 3.11, a huge lift for those of us in Tohoku.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

One of the all time greats, in Japan AND America.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Stayed up and watched Ichiro's interview after the game last night. You can tell how much love and passion he has for the game and how sincere his feelings are. His bio says he is 180cm however he is not quite that tall and not so big compared to other MLB players however his quick hands (which have since slowed down), his speed and his cannon arm combined with his work ethic and heart made him one of the best baseball players in history. Few people remember he actually pitched in a Japanese All Start game and also pitched in a MLB game.

He is respected in Japan and equally respected in the U.S. as exhibited by the reaction of his teammates and those on the A's as well when he left the field.

I held it together until Kikuchi broke down when embracing Ichiro and then I got the "peeled onion syndrome" as well. Watching the previous night's starting pitcher Marco Gonzales console Kikuchi in the dugout afterwards was also all class.

Sure there are other great players (Trout, Harper, etc.) but a player like Ichiro comes along once in a lifetime; if that.

In an era of pampered and often overpaid professional athletes Ichiro stood out like a beacon. A class act, a hard worker, and a man that was true to the game. I doubt we will ever see another like him.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This makes me feel pretty old.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I grew up an Angels fan and we have always had a rivalry with a Mariners since the Randy Johnson era. Last night was the probably the only time I have ever rooted for the Mariners to win for Ichiro and for him to at least get one hit. That groundball to short, he ran like a player half his age. What a competitor! With his work ethic, he would be a fantastic coach in the future whether it is in MLB or NPB. Happy retirement Ichiro!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I admit to shedding tears watching Ichiro announce his retirement. I thought he should fight and keep playing. What an inspiration and role model for Japanese kids he's been for over 25 years. One of the best players of all time.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I remember watching Ichiro playing for Blue Wave when I first came to Japan. I'm not much of a baseball fan, but even then i could recognise pure class and talent.

Fun fact: My wife was good friends with Ichiro's first girlfriend back in the late high school days. The friend dumped him because he was too serious about baseball and didn't give her enough attention!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@GJ! "he should fight and keep playing"--even though he kept himself in the best possible physical shape for his age, declines in eyesight and running speed don't allow him to be competitive in the majors. He could probably hack it in the minors but why punish/injure yourself when you are already a first ballot hall of fame shoo-in. There are retired MLB and NPB players who continue in the independent leagues into their 40s and 50s. People who went that route included Julio Franco, Manny Ramirez, Tuffy Rhodes, Fujikawa when he came back from the states, ex-MLB infielder Nishioka who just agreed to play in Ishikawa or somewhere, and so on.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Correction--Tsuyoshi Nishioka joined the Tochigi Golden Braves in the BC league, says YakyuDB.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

And some of the younger players in the independent leagues are technically not "retired" but may be trying for a comeback.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I watched him crush one at the old Yankee Stadium in 2001, one of his first games in MLB.

Hats off to the legend.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“Even if you are not into baseball you can see and understand the impact he had.”

Same here. As a very casual baseball fan (bb doesnt make the top 20-25 in my rather long fav sports list), I was pretty impressed with one of Ichiro's throws a couple of days ago. Distance (looked 50m+), speed, accuracy, i don't think i had ever seen anything like this. The bloke's got an arm!

As an added bonus, looks a class act on/off the pitch (old school/all business type i.e low key, courteous, professional, no dramas etc).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I thought he should fight and keep playing

Teams are playing to win, not playing for publicity. The roster spot that Ichiro is using can be used on a younger player to help the team.

I do wish though that he made the Seattle roster last season and then announced during the season that he was retiring. Then at the end of each series, he would get a standing ovation from the visiting crowd. David Ortiz did this as well as Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki and Dwayne Wade in the NBA. I am a fan of goodbye tours to pay homage to legends. But I know many felt it was fitting that he retired in Japan.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The guy is a legend in two countries and surefire hall of famer. It was time to go and he went out in style.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I'm not a baseball fan per se but I do like sport and I recognise Ichiro as a great athlete not just in baseball but in international sport. I admire the way that he has worked hard to stay in the game for so long but unfortunately Father Time had the final say. All due respect to the Seattle Mariners to allow him to have the send off he deserved in the last couple of days. I think also due to Ichiro and players like Hideki Matsui's success in Major League Baseball that has help change Nippon Professional Baseball as well. In the past there had been all of those shenanigans about foreign players beating home run records and the like but thanks to Ichiro, and I think back to 2004 when he beat the hits records the fans in the MLB were all behind him to beat it. That showed the fans in Japan that it doesn't matter where you were born, it is a good idea to applaud sporting excellence.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Now the question is, can he get elected unanimously as Hall of famer? I think he deserves to, looking at his overall impact he had on the sports. Cant imagine anyone not voting in his favor...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I am happy to see how dignifies he was in announcing his retirement. At the press conference you could tell he was emotional about his career, but he held it together. Seems like so long ago (and it is) that he was in an Prix uniform.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I do wish though that he made the Seattle roster last season and then announced during the season that he was retiring. 

He was told there was still some possibility of next season when cut last May which also gave him something to pull for and to be justifiably proud of when it came to fruition in Japan.

In his day, impossible plays, impossible hits, impossible catches, all just slightly better than any human (you thought) could actually do it. Impossible to understand, glorious to watch.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ichiro has not been known to hold long media interviews after games, but for his last press conference as a MLB player, he stayed for an hour

Hideki "Godzilla" Matsui commented on Ichiro's farewell send-off manner in the 8th inning as "very well-deserved" and "very American"

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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